Prince Harry is expected to take the stand in London on Tuesday as his long-awaited court battle with the UK’s Daily Mirror tabloid begins this week.
The Duke of Sussex will be the first British royal in more than a century to testify before the court when he appears in the first of five pending legal cases against UK tabloids accused of hacking his phone and invading his privacy.
Harry said in court documents that while his family has avoided testifying about possibly embarrassing matters, he is determined to take on tabloids that allegedly carried out “vicious, persistent attacks” on him and his wife, Meghan Markle.
Along with the Daily Mirror’s parent company, the Mirror Group Newspapers, Harry is suing Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers, The Sun, and the Associated Newspapers Ltd, which owns the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.
The first trial, set to kick off on Monday, is aimed at the Mirror Group and 33 of the 150 stories it published between 1995 and 2011 about King Charles’ youngest son, with Harry claiming the stories were produced with information from hacking his phone and other illegal methods, like hiring at least 25 different private investigators to spy on him.
Harry’s lawyer, David Sherborne, told the court the allegedly unlawful acts by the reporters and editors in the Mirror Group were “widespread and habitual” and were carried out on “an industrial scale.”
Sherborne notably pointed at commentator Piers Morgan, a former Daily Mirror editor, as one of the parties who allegedly authorized the use of the illegal material for publishing.
While the Mirror Group has filed an apology in court, admitting that Harry and other claimants were due compensation over unlawfully gathered information, the admission did not cover the 33 stories Harry had cited.
Both the Mirror Group and Morgan have denied any involvement in the phone hacking, with the publisher claiming in court that the articles cited by Harry involved a “breathtaking level of triviality.”
Harry’s attorney and representatives for the Mirror Group did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Harry is joined in his lawsuit against the Mirror Group with three other claimants, Coronation Street soap opera actors Nikki Sanderson and Michael Turner, and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife, Fiona Wightman.
Harry’s expected testimony this week will be the first time he’s returned to court since making several surprise appearances in the UK in March to attend hearings in the case against the Associated Newspapers Ltd.
Although it was unnecessary for the Duke of Sussex to attend those hearings, his appearance suggests he’s taking the case seriously given his personal history with the tabloids and paparazzi. He has previously blamed tabloids for causing the 1997 crash that killed his mother, Princess Diana.
News about the British royals’ phones being hacked first broke in 2006, when the arrests of a private investigator and a reporter for the now-defunct News of the World, a red top tabloid owned by Murdoch.
The hacking involved the phones of Harry; his older brother. Prince William; and their father, now the King of England. The tabloid was eventually shut down in 2011 following reports that the paper eavesdropped on voicemails of a murder victim.